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Shock, anger, disappointment – and a sense of betrayal.
Those were the initial reactions of shoppers when they discovered that Ecover and Method had been acquired by SC Johnson, a company that openly admits to animal testing and whose brands include Duck, Glade, Pledge and Mr Muscle.
Since Ecover was created in 1979, followed by Method in 2000, the companies have claimed to be animal-friendly. In 2012, they united to become People Against Dirty, joining forces in a competitive market that includes huge corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Clorox and Unilever.
Sadly, Ecover and Method are now owned by a huge corporation and Naturewatch Foundation has revoked their cruelty-free endorsement in the Compassionate Shopping Guide.
Furious at the sharp U-turn in the brands’ ethical stance, previously devoted customers have sent thousands of emails to People Against Dirty following a campaign we launched on World Day for Animals in Laboratories (April 24). Hundreds more aired their views on social media. Ecover and Method have provided unconvincing template responses to assure the public that they “remain firmly committed to no animal testing”.
They have been unable to deny that their profits will now fund animal testing carried out by, or on behalf of, their new parent company.
Ecover and Method both declare that “they see this as more of a really great marriage than just another business deal”. They claim that their partnership with SC Johnson will enable them “to get more people and plant friendly soap into many more homes”. Perceptive shoppers aren’t fooled. It is just another business deal.
Responding to our request that they influence SC Johnson from the inside, People Against Dirty told us: “It’s early days in our new relationship and we are just getting to know each other so it’s difficult to predict the future in any detail.” A non-committal response. For the sake of their own reputation, they should convince SC Johnson to stop testing on animals before it’s too late.